–Objective is Safe, Habitable Rental Housing in Seattle
With more than half the people of Seattle living in rental housing, safe and habitable rental housing is essential. While the City recognizes that the great majority of housing units in the city meet basic standards of habitability, we also know that there are some units that clearly do not. The City of Seattle desires an effective means to address problem rental housing units and improve rental housing conditions for Seattle residents.
The proposed Rental Housing Registration and Inspection Program has been developed to help address the issue, and will provide for proactive inspections of most rental housing in Seattle. The City currently has a complaint-based system; potential violations are reported to the department, we then inspect, and if violations are found, action is taken to gain compliance. This program will continue. However, not all and perhaps some of the most egregious code violations are never reported due to lack of knowledge of basic code standards, fear of retaliation, or lack of familiarity with the enforcement system.
In June 2010, the Seattle City Council adopted Ordinance 123311, creating a rental housing licensing and inspection program, which is meant to address these problems. The Department of Planning and Development convened a diverse Stakeholder Group, which included representatives of tenants, landlords, non-profit housing providers, health and the Associated Students of the University of Washington. .
The Stakeholder Group met 14 times between December, 2010 and January, 2012, resulting in a series of recommendations on the scope of a rental housing program. As a result of those discussions, DPD prepared a report, “Proposed Registration and Inspection Program for Rental Housing,” March 28, 2012. The City Council Housing, Human Services, Health and Culture Committee met four times March through May, providing DPD direction on the preparation of the current draft legislation.
The draft legislation and summary are available online at: www.seattle.gov/dpd/Compliance/RentalHousing/Overview/
Comments will be accepted through Monday, July 23, 2012. Please send comments to:
Rental Housing Registration and Inspection Program
The Department of Planning and Development
700 Fifth Ave., Suite 2000
P.O. Box 34019
Seattle, Washington 98124-4019
Email Responses: RentalHousingRegistration@seattle.gov
Further review and opportunity for comment and discussion will take place following submittal of the legislation to City Council, anticipated in late August.